Last year, Kellie Coates Gilbert said in an interview with Tina Ann Forkner, “Over the course of my lengthy legal career, I spent a lot of time in courtrooms working on high profile cases. People are often at their most vulnerable in these tense situations where much is at stake, and I gained a unique perspective on the human psyche. Early in my writing career, I recognized there could be value in telling stories about women facing relationship fractures, betrayal, and loss and what it looks like to exhibit strength and dignity in these journeys.”
I don’t know if her experience in these situations formed her abilities to be a great story teller or if her childhood with a grandmother who nurtured her granddaughter’s love for reading books created those abilities-perhaps both. Perhaps both combined help to create the books that hook us into these wonderful worlds Kellie Coates Gilbert creates.
We are so pleased that Kellie could visit with us today.
Kellie, your debut novel MOTHER OF PEARL released in 2012. Tell us a little about this story. It has been noted this book is “emotionally riveting and profoundly moving.”
“MOTHER OF PEARL brings us into the heart of a mother bound by an incredible burden, who ultimately finds she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger. My character Barrie Graeber has two great kids, a loving husband, and a respected job as a high school counselor in her close-knit community. Without warning, everything unravels when her teenage daughter, Pearl, is betrayed by friends and lashes out.
“Nothing prepares this mother for the helplessness that follows when her attempts to steer her daughter back on course fail and Pearl shuts her out . . . or when she discovers the unthinkable about her nemesis, the football coach.”
“In this book, Claire Massey’s world is turned upside down when her cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. The question is how will she respond when her security no longer rests in her checkbook. We never know what we’re really made of until we lose everything. This Texas socialite is living the dream-designer clothes, luxury cars, stunning homes. But everything comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must face incredible odds to save her family–and discover a life worth living.”
What some people may not know about your background is you were a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who investigated the largest cattle fraud case in US history, giving you an insider’s view into how people react under pressure. This is a great book Kellie. One in which you can’t put down until you finish it.
I think you will enjoy it. It’s an emotionally complex and gripping novel exploring the seduction of success, the fear of giving up control, and the redemptive power of learning to forgive those who have hurt us most.
The character, Dr. Juliet Ryan, has devoted her considerable scientific acumen to corporate America, providing safe drinking water for millions-and affording her plenty of perks along the way. It’s not the path her estranged father would have her take, but then Juliet finds it difficult to maintain respect for a man she cannot trust. She’s on her way up in the world, and she’s not going to let anything drag her down.
Then when a fast-moving disaster sweeps Juliet into a whirlpool of corporate scandal, lives are at risk including those of some of the people closest to her. As she scrambles to find answers, she must face her deepest wounds and join forces with the one who has hurt her most in order to expose a far-reaching conspiracy.
For readers who want to know more about you, they need to go to your website and see the “fifteen things people don’t know” list. www.kelliecoatesgilbert.com
Can you describe for us what you feel when you get your book that you’ve written and is just published and they deliver it to your doorstep?
The doorbell rings. The dog barks. I open the door to find my Fed Ex man standing in his uniform smiling. “Looks like another box of books, eh?” he says. I smile. “I think so. Hey, if you want to wait and see, I’ll sign one for your wife.” He quickly checks his watch. “That’d be great. She loved the last one.” I leave the door open and grab scissors off my desk and hurry to slice the tape off the top. The Fed Ex guy and I both lean in as I slowly open the cardboard flaps. And there it is…my new baby. The one I’ve spent nearly a year creating, editing, and thinking about. I hold my breath and look up at the Fed Ex guy. “Well, look at that,” he says. I gently lift one from the box. Tears form. I can’t help it. I grab a black sharpie….and sign the first one for the first reader. The Fed Ex guy’s wife. He pulls it to his chest and thanks me before heading back to the truck. I slowly shut the door, with a lump building in my throat. I’ve just experienced a taste of heaven here on earth!
Kellie what do you want your readers to take away from your books?
I am meant to write stories for women that focus on relationships, and the deep places in life. People have many layers, and never more than in family dynamics and hard times. I’m intrigued with the coping mechanisms we employ to fill our empty places—that space inside of us designed to be inhabited by God. These are the stories of my heart. I hope that when a reader closes the last page of one of my books, she is strengthened to continue her journey filled with hope and resolve.
Thank you Kellie for your visit today. I know everyone has enjoyed it.
To learn more about Kellie visit her website: www.kelliercoatesgilbert.com
Contact her on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/kelliecoatesgilbert
Visit us at Southern Writers Magazine www.southernwritersmagazine.com
See you next time!